San Ferdinand, of Bella+Canvas European sales and marketing, talks to Images about the evolution of retail-inspired wholesale garments and what will be trending next year
How do you think decorators’ expectations of wholesale garments have changed over the past ten years?
Ten years ago, there were so few options. The wholesale market really just had one tee – the unisex, carded, open-end industry standard. The first big example of seeing this shift was the introduction of the combed and ringspun tee to the wholesale market, which was initiated by Bella+Canvas and our ‘Not All Tees are Created Equal’ campaign. We knew consumers were getting more sophisticated, they wanted quality fabric and flattering cuts, so we created retail-quality tees to fill this need. Since day one, we promised only to use combed and ringspun cotton, and now, over a decade later, we see a tipping point in the industry where quality is the new standard.
What are the popular fashion styles this year and what will be popular in 2017?
For women, flowy and relaxed styles are here to stay. Women will continue to seek out flattering, draped silhouettes that exude that casual, cool-girl vibe. For men, we believe the long body tee that you see trending in streetwear fashion is going to be huge, which is why we introduced the Men’s Long Body Urban Tee in our 2016 line: that has already taken off.
What fabrics are currently popular in retail-inspired wholesale garments?
It’s all about texture and dimension in the fabric. This is where we continue to innovate, and it is why we make it our goal to create garments with the look and feel like something you would find in a retail store.
What about colours, what are the key trends?
Colour is a huge story for us right now, and we are adding colours throughout the line. We are exploring colour half steps and expanding the colour range in our textured fabric.
[above] The Unisex 3/4 Sleeve Baseball Tee (3200); [main image] The Women’s Flowy Muscle Tank (8803)
Where does Bella+Canvas get its inspiration from?
We have several of our own retail brands in the US, so we see first hand what trends are working on the retail level and adapt the ones we believe will translate well at a wholesale level for Bella+Canvas. We look to celebrities, our employees and our kids to see what they are wearing. We keep our ears to the ground and listen to what our customers are asking for. Sometimes we take calculated risks on styles we believe in but aren’t 100% sure the wholesale world is ready for – we’d rather set the trends in our industry than follow the pack, so those are always risks we are willing to take!
What decorative techniques for retail-inspired garments can we expect to see over the coming year or two?
We expect to see graphic tees making a comeback in a big way, and think the vintage-looking print trend will continue to be popular on soft fabrications.
Can you give us any hints about what to expect from Bella+Canvas’s 2017 range?
In terms of design, our priorities are the same for Bella+Canvas as they have always been: to design garments with the most superior construction possible; to make our tees a live-in-it favourite. We do have some new product we know is going to be huge, but you’ll have to wait to find out .
What’s the best piece of marketing and sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more Bella+Canvas garments to retail and fashionwear buyers?
Our brand mantra is ‘Be Different’ so our advice is to create a strong brand identity that separates you from everyone else. Once you’ve got that, just stick to your guns and continue to innovate and ‘Be Different’. We have made a commitment to creating a quality product and stuck by it for over 20 years.
It’s also important that our customers and employees know with confidence that we do everything in an eco-conscious, sustainable and responsible way. We are WRAP-certified, have a recycling programme that results in almost zero landfill and try to minimise our carbon footprint wherever possible.